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any longer in a bad cause; he was henceforth a Big Knife, and he shook hands with Colonel Clark and his officers, and saluted them as brothers." The drollery of the matter was, that the new brother was naked, and he must be clothed; accordingly a fine laced suit was procured for him, and he was dressed in all the finery of military parade. Shortly after this entertainment, Lages desired a private interview with Colonel Clark; in this, he detailed a full account of the situation of Detroit, and he offered his services to the Colonel, to obtain a scalp or a prisoner. The former Clark declined, upon the general principle of discouraging the barbarities of the Indians, and our desire to keep them still; a course of conduct which has ever proved most fruitful to our countrymen, and in many instances has united the Indians with our less scrupulous enemies. Clark assured him of his readiness to receive a prisoner; but charged him by no means to use such a one ill. On the chief's taking leave, Clark presented him with a Captain's commission and a medal, to secure the agency of this new political missionary.


Recapture of St. Vincents by the British-Plans against Americans-French volunteersMarch to St. Vincents-Capture-Return to Kaskaskia.

After all this success with the Indians, Colonel Clark began to entertain great apprehensions for St. Vincents; no news had been received for a considerable length of time from that place, till on the 29th of January, 1779, Colonel Vigo, then a merchant in partnership with the Governor of St. Louis, now a venerable and highly respected citizen of Vincennes, brought intelligence, that Governor Hamilton had marched an expedition from Detroit, which had, in December, captured St. Vincents, and again reduced it under the power of the British.*

*There is an anecdote respecting Captain Leonard Helm, evincing an intrepidity which would ill be omitted: it has been communicated to the author, through the friendly interest of Judge Underwood, and his venerable relative, Edmund Rogers, Esq., of Barren county, a brother of Captain John Rogers, and personally intimate with Clark and his officers for

Owing to the advanced stage of the season, he had postponed his operations against Kaskaskia, and in order to keep his restless auxiliaries employed, whom he had brought with him to the number of about four hundred, he had detached some against the settlements of Kentucky, and others to watch the Ohio river. In the spring, he contemplated re-assembling his forces for a grand campaign, which should first be directed against Kaskaskia.

At this point, "which he had no doubt of carrying, he was to be joined by two hundred Indians from Michillimakinack, and five hundred Cherokees, Chickasaws and other tribes." With this force united to his own, Governor Hamilton had orders from the commander-in-chief in Canada, "to penetrate up the Ohio to Fort Pitt, sweeping Kentucky on his way and taking light brass cannon for the purpose. So flushed was the British commander with the hopes of conquest, that he made no doubt, he could force all West Augusta, (meaning the western part of Virginia adjoining the Blue Ridge.*") The same respected gentlemant informed him, that Governor Hamilton had not more than eighty men in garrison, three pieces of cannon, and some swivels mounted. With the promptitude inspired by his eminent genius for war, our daring commander determined, like his most appropriate original, the great Hannibal, to carry the war into the enemy's country-as Clark said, "I knew if I did not take him, he would take me." He immediately fitted up a large Mississippi boat as a galley, mounting two four pounders and four swivels, (obtained from the enemy's fort at Kaskaskia,) which he placed under the command of Captain John Rogers,

years. It is as follows: when Governor Hamilton entered Vincennes, there were but two Americans there, Captain Helm, the commandant, and one Henry. The latter had a cannon well charged, and placed in the open fort gate, while Helm stood by it with a lighted match in his hand. When Hamilton and his troops got within good hailing distance, the American officer in a loud voice, cried out, "Halt." This stopped the movements of Hamilton; who, in reply, demanded a surrender of the garrison. Helm exclaimed with an oath, "No man shall enter until I know the terms," Hamilton answered, "You shall have the honors of war;" and then the fort was surrendered with its garrison of one officer and one private. Such is a specimen of the character of Colonel Clark's followers. They were the very choice of Virginia, and the western frontier. Dangers they scarcely counted, and difficulties presented themselves but to be overcome.

* Jefferson's Correspondence, vol. I. page 457.

† It is grateful to the mind, to record the essential services of Colonel Vigo, who, at the advanced age of eighty-six, still takes so much interest in ancient transactions, as at the instance of the author, to institute inquiries into them, among his compatriots.

and a company of forty-six men. This party had orders to force their way up the Wabash if possible, to station itself a few miles below the mouth of White river, suffer nothing to pass, and wait for further orders.


This expedition being determined on, the French inhabitants of Cahokia and Kaskaskia, raised two companies of men; those of the former place were commanded by Captain McCarty, and those of the other by Captain Francois Charleville. These, added to the Americans, made a party of but one hundred and seventy men in the aggregate: on the 7th of February, 1779, this forlorn hope commenced its march for St. Vincents, over the drowned lands of the Wabash, in a wet, though fortunately, not a cold This dreary and fatiguing march was alleviated by the politic management of Clark, who, to divert his men, encouraged parties of hunting and invitations from the companies successively to feasts on game, and war dances of a night, in the manner of the Indians. In this way the party, after incredible fatigues, reached the Little Wabash on the 13th; these difficulties were, however, nothing to those they still had to encounter. At this point, the forks of the stream are three miles apart, and the opposite heights of land five miles in the ordinary state of the water; at the time of Clark's arrival, the interval was covered with water, generally "three feet deep, never under two, and frequently over four."* On the 18th, the expedition got so near St. Vincents, as to hear the morning and evening guns at the fort: and in the evening of the same day, reached within nine miles of the town, below the mouth of the Embarras river. Great difficulties were now experienced in getting canoes, in which to cross the river, and the men required all Clark's address and command to keep their spirits from failing. Still there was no sight of their galley, and canoes could not be built in time to save the party from starving in the destitute condition in which they were. On the 20th, the water guard brought a boat to, from which the most cheering intelligence was obtained, of the disposition of the inhabitants of St.

In the midst of this wading, rather than marching, a little drummer, who floated along on his drum head, afforded much of the merriment that helped to divert the minds of the men from their hardship.-Journal of the march by Major Bowman.

Vincents, and the continued ignorance on the part of the enemy, of our movement. There was yet a large sheet of water to cross, which proved on sounding to be up to the armpits; on the report being made, and Clark speaking seriously to an officer, the whole detachment caught the alarm, and despair seemed ready to possess them. Colonel Clark observing the depression on the faces of his men, whispered to one or two officers near him to imitate him immediately, in what he was going to do; he then took a little powder in his hand, and mixing it with some water, blacked his face with it, raised an Indian war whoop, and marched into the water, imitated and followed by all his men without a murmur. So much does the conduct of men in large bodies, depend upon the address and tone of a commander; this trick of backwoods' invention, communicated a new impulse to the party, and they stepped into the water with the cheerfulness, which many troops under their sufferings, would not have shewn on land. A favorite song was now raised, and the whole detachment sung in chorus: when they had got to the deepest part, where it was intended to transport the troops in two canoes, which they had obtained; one of the men said he felt a path, (which is said to be quite perceptible to the touch of naked feet,) and it being concluded this must pass over the highest ground, the march was continued to a place called the Sugar Camp, where they found about half an acre of ground not under water. From this spot, another wide plain of water was to be crossed, and what heightened the difficulty was, the absence of all timber to afford its support to the famishing and fatigued party in their wading. The object of all their toils and sufferings was now in sight, and after a spirited address, Clark again led the way into the water, still full middle deep. Before the third man stepped off, Clark ordered Captain Bowman to fall back with twenty-five men, and put any man to death, who refused to march, for no coward should disgrace this company of brave men. The order was received with a huzza, and they all pursued their fearless commander; some times they were cheered with a purposed deception by the cry of the advance guard, that the water was grow

ing shallower; and as they approached nearer, the favorite cry of mariners-land-land-was hallooed out. Yet, when they arrived at the woods, the water was found up to the shoulder; still the support of the trees, and the floating logs for the weaker men, were found of the most essential service. To such a degree of exhaustion had this march through so much, and such deep water, reduced the men, that on approaching the bank, or rather, the high ground, they would fall on their faces, leaving their bodies half in the water; because no longer able to continue their efforts. While resting at a spot of dry timbered ground, which the party had reached; an Indian canoe, with a quarter of buffalo beef in it, some corn and tallow, was captured. This was a prize of inestimable value to men in their exhausted condition, and it was presently cooked into broth, which refreshed the men in the most acceptable manner, small as the amount was to each individual. In a short time a prisoner was made of a gunner, who was shooting ducks near the town, and Colonel Clark sent by him a letter to the inhabitants of the post, informing them that he should take possession of their town that night; and giving notice to all, who were friends to the king of England, to repair to the fort and fight like men; otherwise, if discovered after this notice, aiding the enemy, they would be severely punished. Seldom has frank notice been given to an enemy, and choice afforded to retire to his friends; it was resorted to in hopes that its imposing character would add to the confidence of our friends; and increase the dismay of our enemies. So much did it operate in this way, that the expedition was believed to be from Kentucky; it was thought utterly impossible, that in the condition of the waters it could be from Illinois. This idea was confirmed by several messages under the assumed name of gentlemen known to have been in Kentucky, to their acquaintances in St. Vincents; nor would the presence of Clark be credited, until his person was pointed out by one who knew him.

To mask the weakness of the force, the soldiers had their instructions to frame their conversation before strangers, so as to lead them to believe, there were at least a thousand men. One

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